undoubtedly produces some of the highest quality memory on the market today. They were arguably the first company to cater to the PC-Enthusiast, specifically producing memory with this niche segment in mind. Most impressive among the Corsair's accolades has been their consistency, and reliability throughout their product lines. Just a year or so ago, they introduced their XMS Pro Series. Designed primarily for Gamers, this memory was widely overlooked by the hardcore Overclocker who was still chasing down the diminishing supply of Winbond BH-5 IC's (Integrated Circuit). XMS4000 Pro, although an excellent DDR500 part, was overlooked due to cost and minimal overclocking headroom (although anything beyond PC3200 is technically overclocking). As time has progressed, Corsair's XMS Pro Series have become more popular, especially among owner's of 875/865 chipset based motherboards. I've twice reviewed their Twin-X1024 XMS4000PRO, which proved to be a decent overclocker, even beyond its default 500MHz (250FSB 1:1) to 530MHz (265FSB @ 1:1 ratio), and a very stable memory. From a prima facie
perspective, the memory is unique among all others. Its LEDs indicate bank activity in real-time making Pro Series' aesthetics both pragmatic and attractive to those with windowed cases. Until now, the product's high latency made it more suitable for Intel systems at overclocked speeds, and AMD owners seeking low latency performance were literally left in the dark (pun intended).
Many failed to look beyond the module's cosmetic appearance, and recognize the benefits such a large heat spreader might have on thermal dissipation. Indeed it would seem Corsair's engineering process intended to produce a module adept at thermal dissipation. The photo from this Hexus
review of Twin-X1024 3200XLPRO, shows the thermal epoxy used, which is much more effective then the atypical double sided thermal tape. I believe we owe Hexus a debt of gratitude for sacrificing a $400 kit of memory for their readers.
After the thermal epoxy is mechanically applied, the heat spreaders are then clamped on, and the assembled module's are cured in special ovens, as is evident in the photo above. Between the vastly increased (95%) surface area of the heat spreaders, and the use of thermal epoxy, the memory should possess a significant thermal advantage. Removing the heat spreaders as Hexus did, will, of course violate the warranty, and in all likelihood damage the ICs. This is not recommended.
The integrated circuits found beneath the heat spreaders are Samsung K4H560838F-TCCD
. Original specifications have these ICs designed for 4ns operation or 200MHz at CL-3, VDD=2.6, and VDDQ=2.6. Given the manufacturer's specs, Corsair has done an outstanding job engineering the PCB, SPD (Serial Presence Detect) EEPROM. The end result produces a memory capable of 2-2-2-5 latencies at DDR400 speeds, and 2-4-4-8 at DDR500. In this case Corsair's "Plug and Frag
" technology does not fall into the category of marketing fodder. The memory automatically adjusts to run low latencies at DDR400, and slightly higher at DDR500. All this without the need for manual BIOS adjustments (so long as the motherboard is capable of such speeds).
Unfortunately I was unable to surpass 220FSB with any stability on the Chaintech ZNF3-250, and not far beyond 250FSB (DDR500) on my Asus P4C800E-Deluxe. In so far as Chaintech's ZNF3-250 the board's enfeebled BIOS leaves the end-user without multiplier adjustment. This makes overclocking extremely difficult with my CAAOC 3400. In the case of the P4C800E-dlx anything beyond 500MHz, produced the occasional reboot, or other such anomaly. This may be due to the board's maximum VDIMM of 2.85V which most likely fluctuates. With the demise of the infamous BH-5 ICs, many believed the days of 2-2-2-5 were coming to an end.
Corsair has laid those fears to rest with their reincarnation of BH-5 performance, and beyond with their Twin-X1024 3200XLPRO.